Juventus vs. Barcelona, 2017 Champions League: Final Score 0-0, Barça qualify for Round of 16 with away draw

Not a great result, but not a bad one either

Barcelona have qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League and all but secured first place in their group with a game to spare despite a 0-0 draw with Juventus at the Allianz Stadium on Wednesday night. The Blaugrana were the better team for much of the match, but they lacked productivity in front of goal and couldn’t find a winner.

FIRST HALF

Barça didn’t have a bad first half, but they didn’t have a great one either. The Blaugrana had more of the ball and did some really nice passing at times, but they couldn’t find the decisive pass in the final third. That’s when not having Lionel Messi really hurt the Catalans, and their only real scoring chance came on a set piece when Ivan Rakitic hit a free kick straight to the post.

Juventus had their moments as well with Paulo Dybala involved in everything good the Italians did, but Marc-André ter Stegen came through when needed and kept the score tied.

At halftime, a decent performance from Barça needed a spark to maybe get the win. If only they had someone on the bench…

SECOND HALF

Messi came on after 55 minutes, and Barça began to dominate the game, constantly bringing danger to the Juventus defense and forcing the hosts to defend deep inside their half and not have any threat on the counter. Messi had a dangerous free kick that went just over the bar, and he created a golden chance with an incredible pass from midfield, but Lucas Digne decided to pass instead of going for it himself and wasted the opportunity.

As we approached the final 15 minutes Barça looked closer and closer to a goal, but Juventus decided to give it a go and went forward as well, though they didn’t create any chances. What we had in the final five minutes was a dull affair, with both teams looking to nullify each other and not concede.

In the end, a 0-0 draw at Juventus isn’t a bad result against such a strong team. We played 55 good minutes without Messi, and had a couple of great opportunities with him. Could it be better? Sure, but we lost 3-0 there not too long ago. I call that progress.


Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Piqué, Umtiti, Digne; Rakitic, Busquets; Deulofeu (Messi), Paulinho, Iniesta (Alba); Suárez

Goals: None

Juventus: Buffon; Barzagli, Benatia, Rugani, Alex Sandro; Pjanic (Bentancur), Khedira; Cuadrado (Marchisio), Dybala, Costa (Matuidi); Higuaín

Goals: None

Juventus vs. Barcelona live stream: Lineups, Kickoff time, TV listings, How to watch Champions League online

Barça play a HUGE European game tonight, and you just can’t miss it

Welcome back, Champions League! After the horror that is the international break, the best cup competition in Europe returns tonight for Barcelona, and the Blaugrana travel to Italy for a HUGE game against Juventus. And this is one you can’t miss.

This is a really, really, big match for the Catalan giants who need a point to qualify and three to win the group with a game to spare. Juventus don’t lose at home that often, and they destroyed Barça the last time these two teams played at the Allianz Stadium.

Barça come into this match on a 17-game unbeaten streak, but it’s safe to say they haven’t really faced a great opponent to this point. Juventus tonight and Valencia on Sunday, both away from home, are great opponents that will truly test where this team is.

Thankfully Barça have Lionel Messi, and you always have a good chance to win when Messi is playing. He loves these big games, and after scoring for the first time against the legendary Gianluigi Buffon in the first meeting between them this season, Leo is more confident facing one of the greatest goalkeepers in history.

This will be both fun and nervous at the same time, but it’s a must-watch game. Please don’t miss it.


MATCH INFO

Date/Time: Wednesday, November 22, 2017, 8:45pm (Barcelona & Nigeria), 7:45pm (UK), 2:45pm ET, 11:45am PT (USA), 1:15 IST (India, Thursday)

Venue: Allianz Stadium, Turin, Italy

HOW TO WATCH, STREAM CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Television: Fox Sports 1 (USA), BT Sport ESPN (UK), SuperSport 6 (Nigeria), TSN4 (Canada), SONY TEN 2 (India)

Online streaming: Fox Sports GO, WatchESPN (USA), BT Sport Live (UK), TSN GO (Canada), FuboTV (7-day free trial, click here to sign up)

(Listings via LiveSoccerTV)


LINEUPS

Lineups will be posted when announced.

Barcelona announce squad for Champions league match against Juventus

Ernesto Valverde has called 19 players for the trip to Turin

The next Barcelona match is upon us! The Blaugrana are in Turin for a crucial UEFA Champions League game against Juventus, and Ernesto Valverde called 19 players on Monday for the trip. One player will be cut from the final matchday squad.

This is the full squad:


Goalkeepers: 1. Marc-André ter Stegen, 13. Jasper Cillessen, 31. Adrián Ortolá

Defenders: 2. Nélson Semedo, 3. Gerard Piqué, 18. Jordi Alba, 19. Lucas Digne, 22. Aleix Vidal, 23. Samuel Umtiti, 25. Thomas Vermaelen

Midfielders: 4. Ivan Rakitic, 5. Sergio Busquets, 6. Denis Suarez, 8. Andrés Iniesta, 15. Paulinho Bezerra

Forwards: 9. Luis Suárez, 10. Lionel Messi, 16. Gerard Deulofeu, 17. Paco Alcácer


There are no changes to the squad that were in uniform against Leganés, which means that Ousmane Dembélé, Rafinha Alcântara, Sergi Roberto, Javier Mascherano and Arda Turan are still out due to injury. Barça B keeper Ortolá has traveled with the group but will not be in uniform, and we shouldn’t expect a lot of changes from last weekend’s side.

Predicted starting XI (4-4-2):

Ter Stegen; Semedo, Piqué, Umtiti, Alba; Paulinho, Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta; Messi, Suárez


The game kicks off on Wednesday night at 8:45pm (Barcelona & Nigeria) / 7:45pm (UK) / 2:45pm ET, 11:45am PT (USA) / 1:15am IST (India, Thursday), and you can join us to follow and comment all the action.

VISCA EL BARÇA!

UEFA Champions League: Juventus vs. Barcelona: Team News, Match Preview

The Blaugrana have a REALLY tough European game, and they REALLY need a result

If you’re a Barcelona fan, get ready to get nervous. The start of the season (after the Spanish Supercup) has been nice and easy, but now things get tough. This week may define the entire season, and what Barça do in the next two matches will show who they are and how good they can be.

The first challenge is Juventus at the Allianz Stadium in a crucial Champions League match on Wednesday night. Barça need a draw to qualify for the knockout rounds with a game to spare, and a win will put see them through in first place in Group D. But beating Juventus will not be easy for a few reasons.

One: Juve just don’t lose at home. Although they did suffer a defeat to Lazio a few weeks ago, that was the first loss at their stadium for over two years. Maxi Allegri’s side usualy dominates everyone at their ground, which includes a 3-0 win over Luis Enrique’s Barça in last season’s Champions League quarterfinals. The crowd is amazing, the energy of the team naturally goes up and it’s really, really hard to get one point there, let alone three.

Two: Barça really aren’t playing well. After a wonderful performance in the first half against Sevilla two and half weeks ago, the Blaugrana had a terrible showing against Leganés on Saturday. The passing was off, the movement was poor and the pace was terrible. The only good news from that game is that Luis Suárez scored two goals and has a little bit more confidence going to Juventus.

This won’t be easy at all, and if Barça play anywhere near the level they showed at Leganés, this will be a cakewalk for the Bianconeri. Oh, and then there’s Valencia at the weekend. Away from home. Imagine going there after a spanking at Juventus.

So yeah, let’s win or draw at Juventus while playing well.

Please?


MATCH INFO, TV/STREAMING

Date/Time: Wednesday, November 22, 2017, 8:45pm (Barcelona & Nigeria), 7:45pm (UK), 2:45pm ET, 11:45am PT (USA), 1:15 IST (India, Thursday)

Venue: Allianz Stadium, Turin, Italy

Television: Fox Sports 1 (USA), BT Sport ESPN (UK), SuperSport 6 (Nigeria), TSN4 (Canada), SONY TEN 2 (India)

Online streaming: Fox Sports GO, WatchESPN (USA), BT Sport Live (UK), TSN GO (Canada), FuboTV (7-day free trial, click here to sign up)

(Listings via LiveSoccerTV)


TEAM NEWS

The best possible Barcelona team right now is pretty clear, but since this is Ernesto Valverde away from home we won’t see Paco Alcácer with Lionel Messi and Suárez up front. Valverde loves to play a flat 4-4-2 with four midfielders defending wide and attacking narrow, with the full-backs not pushing forward and the team turning into a slow, controlling mess that just wants to keep the ball and maybe get a goal. It’s not pretty, but it’s worked so far and that is probably what we’ll see against Juve as well.

So who starts in place of Alcácer? With Sergi Roberto and André Gomes injured, the job goes to either Paulinho or Denis Suarez. It looks like Paulinho is the first choice off the bench, so the Brazilian gets the nod. Then again, Valverde could surprise us and go with an attacking setup. Then again, HE WON’T.


POSSIBLE LINEUPS

Juventus (4-2-3-1)

Buffon; De Sciglio, Barzagli, Chiellini, Alex Sandro; Pjanic, Matuidi; Cuadrado, Dybala, Mandzukic; Higuaín

Barcelona (4-4-2)

Ter Stegen; Semedo, Piqué, Umtiti, Alba; Paulinho, Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta; Messi, Suárez


PREDICTION

I’m really sorry, but I just don’t see us winning this one: 2-2 draw.

FC Barcelona News: 19 November 2017; Barça defeat Leganés, Luis Suárez ends goal drought

A round-up of the latest Barcelona news and transfer rumors

MATCH REPORT: Leganés 0-3 Barça: Super Suárez strikes twice – FC Barcelona
The blaugranas move eight points clear following a 3-0 win thanks to a Suárez brace and a goal from the super sub Paulinho

Valverde: ‘We are happy as it is a step forward’ – FC Barcelona
The FC Barcelona coach discussess how much his team ‘values the win’ against Leganés following a tough game

HIGHLIGHTS: Leganés vs FC Barcelona – FC Barcelona
Two goals from Luis Suárez and one from Paulinho gave Ernesto Valverde’s team the victory on their return to la Liga action after the recent international break

Carvajal: Madrid can catch Barca | Football Espana
Dani Carvajal insists Real Madrid can close their 10-point gap on Barcelona “if we all keep demanding the maximum from ourselves.”

Leganes unlucky, admits Valverde | Football Espana
Ernesto Valverde admits Barcelona’s 3-0 win at Leganes was “misleading and excessive” as they “made it difficult for us and had a great game.”

Suarez: Always knew I’d score | Football Espana
Barcelona striker Luis Suarez assures “I wasn’t anxious” about his lack of goals but admits Gerard Pique will be “a very big miss” for Valencia.

Leganés vs. Barcelona live stream: Lineups, Kickoff time, TV listings, how to watch La Liga online

It’s a tough test away from home for the league leaders, and you must watch it

The international break is FINALLY over, and the best team in the world is back in action. Barcelona travel to Madrid for what a promises to be a very tough La Liga match against Leganés, and this is one you can’t miss.

On paper, this doesn’t sound like a really tough game: Leganés are in 9th place in the league table and have scored just 9 goals in their first 11 games, and they’re also on a two-game losing streak coming into today’s match. But Leganés are one of the top home teams in the league, and their defense is very difficult to break down.

This could also be extra tough given Barça have a crucial Champions League trip to Juventus on Wednesday, and there is no doubt the players will be thinking about at least a little bit. Even though Ernesto Valverde will select his strongest possible team to face Leganés, they might not be 100% focused and that could make things very difficult for the Blaugrana.

But Barça have Lionel Messi, and when you have Lionel Messi you can win any game. Barça also have Luis Suárez looking to end a long goal drought, and they also have Paco Alcácer who scored two goals in the last match and will come into this one full of confidence.

This will be tough, but Barça can definitely win it and they’ll extend the best start in the history of La Liga with three more points. Please don’t miss it.


MATCH INFO

Date/Time: Saturday, November 18, 2017, 4:15pm (Spain & Nigeria), 3:15pm (UK), 10:15am ET, 7:15am PT (USA), 8:45pm IST (India)

Venue: Estadio Municipal Butarque, Madrid, Spain

HOW TO WATCH, STREAM LA LIGA

Television: beIN SPORTS (USA & Canada), Not Televised (UK), SuperSport 7 (Nigeria), SONY TEN 2 (India)

Online streaming: beIN SPORTS CONNECT (USA, Canada, Spain), FuboTV (7-day free trial, click here to sign up)


LINEUPS

Lineups will be posted when announced.

Barcelona announce squad for La Liga match against Leganés

Ernesto Valverde has called up 18 players for the trip to Madrid

The next Barcelona match is upon us! The Blaugrana travel to Madrid for what promises to be a tough La Liga game against Leganés, and Ernesto Valverde has called 18 players to be in uniform on Saturday afternoon.

This is the full squad:


Goalkeepers: 1. Marc-André ter Stegen, 13. Jasper Cillessen

Defenders: 2. Nélson Semedo, 3. Gerard Piqué, 18. Jordi Alba, 19. Lucas Digne, 22. Aleix Vidal, 23. Samuel Umtiti, 25. Thomas Vermaelen

Midfielders: 4. Ivan Rakitic, 5. Sergio Busquets, 6. Denis Suarez, 8. Andrés Iniesta, 15. Paulinho Bezerra

Forwards: 9. Luis Suárez, 10. Lionel Messi, 16. Gerard Deulofeu, 17. Paco Alcácer


The international break brought more injury problems for Valverde, with Javier Mascherano missing the next four weeks with a hamstring problem. With the medical clearance given to Aleix Vidal, there are exactly 18 first team players available for selection, and all of them will be in uniform. Ousmane Dembélé, Rafinha Alcântara, Arda Turan, Sergi Roberto, André Gomes and Mascherano are out with injury.

Predicted starting XI (4-3-1-2):

Ter Stegen; Semedo, Piqué, Umtiti, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta; Messi; Alcácer, Suárez


The match kicks off at 4:15pm (Spain & Nigeria) / 3:15pm (UK) / 10:15am ET, 7:15am PT (USA), 8:45pm IST (India), and you can join us to follow and comment all the action.

VISCA EL BARÇA!

La Liga: FC Barcelona vs. Leganés: Team News, Match Preview

Barça travel to Madrid looking to extend their unbeaten start to the league season

Welcome back, Barcelona! After what felt like 232 years of international break, the greatest club on Earth will play football again. While watching Barça hasn’t been the most exciting thing this season, this is the team we love and we get to watch them again.

If the 343 weeks of international matches made you forget about what happened before the latest break, Barça remain unbeaten in La Liga and have made the best start in the history of the Spanish league with 31 points from their first 11 games, which keeps the Blaugrana four points above Valencia and eight points ahead of Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid, who face each other this weekend.

Ernesto Valverde has had a tremendous start in terms of results, but the performances have definitely not been great. But the last game gave us hope: the first half against Sevilla was without a doubt the brightest 45 minutes of the season. The team was constantly attacking, passing the ball quickly and moving without it to find gaps inside the opponent’s defense. Lionel Messi was the best player on the pitch as usual, but the whole team played well and that was very encouraging.

The second half was pretty much what we’ve seen from the team so far: uninspired, lacking creativity and constantly missing easy chances (hi, Luis Suárez!). Then again, the optimist in me will look at that first half and see very good signs of what’s to come if Valverde sticks with the plan that worked so well two weeks ago. Barça face one of the best home teams in the league this season in Leganés, and this will definitely be a tough game.

But if that first half against Sevilla happens again, Barça can definitely win this one.


MATCH INFO, TV/STREAMING

Date/Time: Saturday, November 18, 2017, 4:15pm (Spain & Nigeria), 3:15pm (UK), 10:15am ET, 7:15am PT (USA), 8:45pm IST (India)

Venue: Estadio Municipal Butarque, Madrid, Spain

Television: beIN SPORTS (USA & Canada), Not Televised (UK), SuperSport 7 (Nigeria), SONY TEN 2 (India)

Online streaming: beIN SPORTS CONNECT (USA, Canada, Spain), FuboTV (7-day free trial, click here to sign up)

(Listings via LiveSoccerTV)


TEAM NEWS

There is a crucial Champions League game away to Juventus coming up, but that is on Wednesday night and there’ll be enough time to recover after this one, so Valverde will no doubt go with a very strong side. And why not go with the same team and formation that did so well against Sevilla? That team made sense on paper and played great football for 45 minutes against a tight defense, which is exactly what Barça will face in Leganés.

With the absence of Sergi Roberto, it’s pretty clear that Nélson Semedo should be the starting right-back from now on, and while Aleix Vidal is medically cleared again he’s been playing as a wide midfielder with Valverde and will not threaten Semedo (now watch Vidal starting at right-back because that’s the way Ernie does it). In midfield, Ivan Rakitic seems to be playing well again, and Sergio Busquets and Andrés Iniesta just cannot be dropped.

Up front, the trio of Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez and Paco Alcácer worked quite well two weeks ago and should probably start together again on Saturday. Gerard Deulofeu and Denis Suarez are looking to get into the lineup if Valverde decides to save some players for Juventus, but that probably won’t happen.


POSSIBLE LINEUPS

Barcelona (4-3-1-2)

Ter Stegen; Semedo, Piqué, Umtiti, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta; Messi; Alcácer, Suárez

Leganés (4-1-4-1)

Cuéllar; Zaldua, Siovas, Muñoz, Rico; Pérez; Amrabat, Eraso, Pires, Szymanowski; Beauvue


PREDICTION

This will be really tough, and with an eye on Juventus Barça will probably not be at their best: 2-0 to the Blaugrana.

FC Barcelona News: 15 November 2017; Lionel Messi returns to training, Barça agree deal for Antoine Griezmann

A round-up of the latest Barcelona news and transfer rumors

All Jordi Alba’s goals for Barça – FC Barcelona
With the fullback having scored in back to games with Spain, we take a look at the nine goals he’s scored for Barça since returning to the Club in the summer of 2012

Leo Messi and Ivan Rakitic back in training – FC Barcelona
The FC Barcelona pair joined up with the rest of the squad for Wednesday’s training session, in preparation for the game against Leganés

Gerard Deulofeu: ‘I’ve matured and now I’m a team player’ – FC Barcelona
The Blaugrana striker talks about the first team and his football career in an exclusive interview with Club media

Casemiro ‘would welcome’ Neymar at RM | Football Espana
Casemiro ‘would welcome’ international teammate Neymar at Real Madrid and admitted he ‘hopes’ they could be united at the Bernabeu.

Suarez back for Leganes | Football Espana
Luis Suarez and Arda Turan are both expected to be involved in Barcelona’s squad for their trip to Leganes after recovering from injuries.

Barca agree Griezmann deal? | Football Espana
Barcelona have reached an ‘agreement in principle’ for Atletico Madrid attacking star Antoine Griezmann, according to reports.

FC Barcelona News: 11 November 2017; Luis Suárez discusses form, Five players set to exit in January

A round-up of the latest Barcelona news and transfer rumors

Luis Suarez staying calm positive despite Barcelona scoreless streak – ESPN FC
The Uruguay international, his country’s all-time top scorer, twice European top scorer with two different clubs and top scorer in three different countries, the only player to break up Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s eight-year stranglehold on the Pichichi award and the only striker other than them to ever reach forty La Liga goals, hasn’t scored for 459 minutes.

Leipzig hopeful that Dayot Upamecano will stay despite Barca and Madrid links – ESPN FC
RB Leipzig hope 19-year-old Dayot Upamecano will stay with them despite being linked with Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester United.

The five Barça players who could form ‘Operation Exit’ in January
Barcelona have intensified their work in recent weeks in a bid to find players for those not in Ernesto Valverde’s plans. CEO Oscar Grau has said that the club are in a position to sign Philippe Coutinho in January, but that there may have to be sales, too. If not in the winter, then next summer, to lower the club’s wage bill.

Ander Herrera: Valverde shows how to be a great manager and a great pe
Manchester United’s Ander Herrera has praised his former manager, Ernesto Valverde, who is now the coach of Barcelona.